George Bush, in making a political issue out of the refusal of Michael Dukakis to introduce compulsion into saluting the flag in Massachusetts schools, is treading on dangerous territory politically as well as demeaning the whole concept of patriotism. He is endorsing the idea that this is the basic and most important duty of a citizen.
Yet the pledge that he himself took on becoming vice president was not to the flag but to the Constitution ("to support, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America"). This is the pledge that all officeholders and members of the armed forces take on entering upon their tours of duty, and the lack of such a pledge may be a reason why the military leaders in many countries find it so easy to take over their governments whenever they choose to do so.
As a high school teacher of foreign students for many years, I had occasion to lead the Pledge of Allegiance when classes began each morning. It was part of the routine and as far as I knew was not legally required.
I had lived in a free country all my life and served in its armed forces as a volunteer for the duration of World War II, so it didn't occur to me to ask.